Chase tales with this Alfa Romeo Super ‘Carabinieri’

Have you noticed the surge of interest in small, European classic cars? This 1971 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super ‘Carabinieri’ could be the perfect vehicle to keep them in line. (But pursue Mini Coopers at your peril…)

Yep, we’ve all seen it: the Giulia-wielding Italian police hopelessly pursuing Charlie Croker’s gold-laden Minis in The Italian Job. In reality, short work would have been made of the trio, for the Italian police forces, particularly the enigmatic Carabinieri (the national military police), were – and still are ­– a force to be reckoned with. 

All mod cons

Alfas have long been the darling of the Caribinieri, ever since the ‘Matta’ impressed with its off-road capabilities in the early 1950s. From Giulias to Alfasuds, through 33s and 159s, to this day where there’s an immaculately turned out Carabiniere, you’ll usually find an Alfa Romeo. The stunning car pictured might be a faithful recreation but it’s got all the mod cons, including flashing lights, sirens and authentic heraldic emblems and ex-police number plates.

Powered by an 89bhp, twin-camshaft engine (this one even has downdraft Webers) and tipping the scales at just 1000kg, the Giulia 1300 Super was the ideal choice for a police force dealing with not only higher levels of crime, but villains armed with faster cars. When engaged in a chase, there was little that could evade the nimble Alfa through town, and similarly little that could outlast them at high speeds. It was comfortable, too – even criminals were afforded a smooth ride to justice. 

Suitably authoritative

Compared to the Polizia’s rather drab olive green cars, the Carabinieri’s ‘Gazzella’ (or ‘gazelles’, as they’re dubbed by the Italians for their speed and agility) looked suitably authoritative in their blue and white liveries. And that roof is white for a reason: not only did it help the support helicopter locate and identify the good guys in pursuit, but it also kept its occupants cool below the fierce Italian sun – remember, air-conditioning was the preserve of the ultra-wealthy back then, and all but the most luxurious cars went without.

Thanks to the Carabinieri, many of history’s most notorious criminals were brought down. As a result, cars like this Giulia Super are often required for films and television. Set to go under the gavel at RM’s Paris sale on 4 February (estimated at a reasonable €15,000-20,000), it could be a front-row ticket to the next Hollywood crime thriller. You’d best buy the uniform, too, just in case.

Photos: Piotr Degler ©2015 Courtesy of RM Auctions